The top 10 banks in California, as determined by GOBankingRates, offer an array of services. As for which is the overall top state bank, that depends on what type of account or service you need. A customer looking for the highest annual percentage yields might select a different bank than a customer who needs low mortgage rates, high levels of bank customer service or investment products.
GOBankingRates identified the top 10 banks in California based on bank asset size, accessibility, savings account interest rate, monthly checking account fee, and available products. You can use this ranking to help you choose the best bank for you from among the top options.
10 Best Banks in California
Based on the ranking methodology, here’s GOBankingRates’ list of 10 best banks in California:
- East West Bank
- Bank of the West
- Bank of America
- Union Bank
- Bank of Hope
- City National Bank
- CIT Bank
- First Republic Bank
- Pacific Western Bank
East West Bank
East West Bank offers its EWB Value Checking account for those seeking an account with lots of features but only a $100 minimum deposit. The account inlcludes unlimited check writing and free ATM access at all East West, Allpoint and MoneyPass ATMs. For non-proprietary ATMs, the bank charges a fee after two transactions per month.
The Value Checking account comes with a $5 fee that is waived with a monthly average balance of $1,500 or a total of $5,000 or more between qualifying East West accounts. Beyond checking and savings, East West Bank offers banking services such as mortgage loans, credit cards, insurance and investment services.
Bank of the West
Bank of the West offers auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards and investment services. On the loan front, you can get everything from an RV or boat loan to a construction loan, home equity line of credit or personal loan.
The basic Bank of the West checking account, Any Deposit Checking, charges a $10 monthly fee, but if you deposit any amount — or if you’re under age 25 — that monthly service charge is waived. No minimum opening or maintaining balance is required with the account, which includes a free Mastercard debit card, unlimited Bank of the West ATM withdrawals, online and mobile banking with bill pay, discounts on consumer loans, a $5 overdraft buffer, and the refund of one overdraft fee per year.
Bank of America
Bank of America has by far the most branches of GOBankingRates’ top 10 banks in California — 4,639. Bank of America is the only financial institution in the GOBankingRates top 10 in the state to offer services across all five highlighted categories: auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance. The bank also offers wealth management services.
Bank of America’s basic checking account, Core Checking, carries a $12 monthly fee, but the fee is easily avoidable with one monthly qualifying direct deposit of $250 or more or a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or more. The fee is also waived for students under age 24.
Union Bank has assets of over $116 billion. Apart from auto loans, Union Bank offers most financial services, including insurance, investments, credit cards and mortgages.
Union Bank’s Ready to Go Checking requires a $100 opening deposit and charges a $10 monthly fee unless you have a minimum of $500 in direct deposits or mobile deposits per month. You can also avoid the fee with an average balance of $1,500 or a $5,000 combined average balance across Union Bank accounts. Savings account rates at the bank topped out at 0.01% APY, no matter how high the balance, at the time this ranking’s research was conducted.
Rabobank doesn’t offer auto loans, but it does offer personal loans, credit cards, investment services and mortgages. The bank’s Option Checking account provides free mobile banking and deposits, online bill pay, free e-statements, a free Visa debit card, unlimited check writing, and free access to Rabobank ATMs — with a minimum opening deposit of $100. The $7 monthly fee is waived with monthly direct deposits of more than $500 or an average $1,000 collective balance across Rabobank accounts, such as another open checking account.
Bank of Hope
Bank of Hope’s breadth of services is limited, as the bank doesn’t offer auto loans, insurance or investment services. But the bank has multiple checking options, including the Basic Checking account designed for customers with low-to-moderate account activity. All that’s required is a $25 opening deposit, although you’ll have to enroll in e-statements or make at least five ATM transactions per month to avoid the $3 monthly service fee. Savings account yields can reach 0.15% APY for deposits of at least $25,000, but there’s a $5 monthly service charge.
City National Bank
City National Bank offers a basic checking account with traditional services — unlimited transactions, free online and mobile banking, and bill pay, but it carries a high threshold to avoid the steep annual fee of $20 per month. It also has a $1,000 opening deposit and a $3,000 average daily balance requirement.
The bank also offers a variety of high-level services, including international banking, treasury and cash management, real estate financing, trust services and equipment financing.
CIT Bank doesn’t offer auto loans, credit cards, insurance or investment services, but the bank still offers an array of products, from a full line of certificates of deposit to small business loans and equipment financing. The bank also has a variety of purchase loans and refinancing options for home mortgages.
CIT offers the highest yield by far for a savings account compared with the other top 10 banks on this list. The Premier High Yield Savings Account pays 1.35% APY on balances of $250,000 or less. There’s a $100 minimum required to open the account but no ongoing balance requirements or fees.
First Republic Bank
First Republic Bank offer a Basic Checking account that has a minimum opening balance of $25 and comes with a $3 monthly service fee. Eight cleared checks each month are free; each additional check transaction costs $1. The bank’s passbook savings account carries no fees, but it has no ATM card, so you’ll have to conduct transactions in person at one of First Republic’s 73 branches. Mortgage loans, investment management and business services are also available at First Republic.
Pacific Western Bank
Pac-West Bancorp, the holding company for Los Angeles-based Pacific Western Bank, prides itself on having a local footprint with national capabilities. Services at Pacific Western Bank include traditional banking offerings and lending solutions.
Each of the bank’s three personal checking accounts includes online banking, bill pay, a Mastercard debit card, and a $50 minimum opening deposit requirement. The most basic account, Value Checking, carries a $6 monthly service fee that can be waived with either a $500 minimum daily balance or a $1,500 monthly average balance.
Methodology: To determine the best banks in the state, GOBankingRates ranked the top 10 banks based on (1) asset-size, with $100 million minimum in assets held, according to the FDIC; (2) monthly checking account service fee; (3) savings account annual percentage rate, which was either a flat rate or the lowest tiered rate available from the bank for non-specialty savings account products; (4) bank accessibility, based on the approximate number of branches; and (5) products, with banks being scored on selection of products offered, including auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services, and insurance.
Data for this ranking was compiled from and verified against the individual institutions’ websites between Sept. 21 and Sept. 26, 2017. Rates, terms and conditions are subject to change at the discretion of the individual financial institutions. APY was based on the minimum deposit required to open the account. Some interest rates might be short-term or promotional offers only, and it is possible additional terms and conditions must be met in order to obtain the interest rates listed. Rates and availability might vary by region. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account.
GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions, and other financial services organizations. Some banks mentioned in this ranking are clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement.
Related: The Best Banks of 2018